CTU, SEIU call for more protections against COVID-19 at Chicago schools

The Chicago Teachers Union is asking for improved COVID-19 safety protections just four days into the new school year.

CTU and SEIU Local 73 members gathered Thursday morning outside Barton Elementary School on the South Side to voice their concerns.

They claim the current conditions are unsafe for students and staff, even for those who are vaccinated.

"We know that the vaccine is not all that it's going to take," said SEIU Local 73 President Dian Palmer. "It's going to take clean schools. It's going to take a healthy lifestyle. It's going to take helping people stay home if they become infected and giving them resources so that they can pay their bills even if they have to stay home. CPS leadership, please partner with us because we want this to be a healthy and safe environment."

Students under 12 are still ineligilbe to get the vaccine.


CPS is already reporting 28 coronavirus cases in adults and 11 in students.

And 150 are in quaratine for being a close contact.

So far, 38 schools for reported at least one case of the virus.

"Our protocols are based on guidance from health officials and science — there is no appetite for escalating tensions after immense uncertainty regarding reopening," CPS Press Secretary James Gherardi said in a statement. "With teacher attendance at pre-pandemic levels on the first day of school, it’s clear that our educators are overwhelmingly ready to be back with their students. This year no doubt requires more adjustments, for which the district and schools have been preparing for months." 

CTU took to Twitter Thursday night and said 900 students are currently in self-reported quarantine.